Jesse Graves



In language both plainspoken and lyrical, East Tennessee poet Jesse Graves examines the connections that hold people together across generations and against the breaches of time and distance. The landscapes of his native region possess a mythic beauty and Graves writes of the animating force it can become in a poet's imagination. Graves's poems are haunted by the lost futures of lives cut short and by speculative narrations of omens and portents. For all the darkness visible in the world, Graves elevates the great joy of feeding birds, walking in the woods, and sharing a life, sometimes only in memory, with the people we love. Those who have passed on are remembered here and their stories become a source of light. The new work in MERCIFUL DAYS will remind readers why Ron Rash has said, These poems have the music, wisdom, and singular voice of a talent fully realized, and make abundantly clear that Jesse Graves is one of America's finest young poets.


Jesse Graves is the author of the poetry collections TENNESSEE LANDSCAPE WITH BLIGHTED PINE, BASIN GHOSTS, and SPECTER MOUNTAIN. His work received the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and two Weatherford Awards from Berea College. Graves teaches at East Tennessee State University, where he is poet-in-residence and professor of English.